Discalced Carmelite Order (OCD) comprises of three groups of members: friars, sisters and lay persons. Hence OCD is a family of brothers and sisters under one General (Fr. General). So the Discalced Carmelite sisters who are completely cloistered following the papal cloister are as pure contemplative nuns autonomous in each Carmel, however, accept Fr. General (OCD) as the father of the family. This would be a unique presence in the Church of brothers and sisters in one family.
St. Teresa of Jesus (of Avila) who joined the Carmelite Order in the convent of Incarnation in Avila, realizing that the crowded presence of nuns and the lax and to some extent worldly style of life in that community could not really bring fulfillment to her vocation, was inspired by God and empowered by him ventured on a new foundation with a reformed life style in a family-like small community. Its first foundation is St. Joseph’s convent, Avila in 1962. It was also the result of deep ecclesial consciousness to promote the reform in the Church at the time of protestant reform, asking the question: “How shall we be in the Church?” (WP 4,1). God made her found 17 more such carmels in Spain before her death. The parallel reform of the Order of friars too was initiated by her with the cooperation of St. John of the Cross with the first foundation of reformed Order at Duruelo in 1968.
St. Teresa clarifies her intention regarding the reformed life further: “I cried out to the Lord, begging him that he give me the means to be able to do something to win souls to his service” (F 1,7). In the Way of Perfection she had expressed this: “Let us strive to be the kind of persons whose prayers can be useful.” ( WP 3,2). “If we can obtain some answers from God to these requests, we shall be fighting for Him even though we are very cloistered.” (WP 3,5). “A thousand lives to save one soul.” (WP 1,2.4; 3,6.9). “The Lord desired that no foundation be made without some trial in one way or another” (F 24,15). “The Lord said to me: Daughter obedience gives strength” (F Prol. 2). “What do you fear? When have I failed you? I am the same now as I was before. Do not neglect to make these two foundations.” (F 29,6). “Now we are beginning and let them strive to advance always from good to better.” (F 29,32); “We must always observe that they are the foundation for those who are to come” (F 4,6).
Now there more than thousand Cloistered Carmels in the world and around 12000 sisters. In India there are 34 Carmels with around 600 sisters. They live treading the path of St. Teresa, together with the host other heroic saints like St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Edith Stein, St. Teresa de los Andes, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, St. Myriam and so on. Their life is inspired by the desire “to see God” which is realized through regular contemplative prayer that becomes a life style and the ecclesial apostolic zeal as “daughters of the Church” expressed in the prayer as the ministry and mission for the edification of the Church. Through the Cloister they identify themselves with Jesus who through incarnation limited his existence geographically, socially, politically, physically, culturally to the cloister of Palestine in order to save the whole world. In a Society that is plagued by the culture of superficiality, exteriority, tourism, advertisement, popularity, efficiency, success, professional excellence, technological perfection, competition, activism etc. the communities of Discalced Carmelite Sisters promoting the culture of depth dimension, silence, interior authenticity, hiddenness, effectiveness, fidelity, simplicity, interior dynamism, transparency of heart, delicacy of conscience, pilgrimage and service are indisputably the facilitators and catalysts of transformation.